When Vineyard Haven throws itself a birthday party, everybody’s invited.
And when the birthday party comes in the form of the annual Tisbury Street Fair, nothing stands in the way of a good time — not even inclement weather.
Foggy conditions and predictions of rain on Friday prompted organizers to postpone the event for a day, and while coordinator Robin Sylvia reported receiving plenty of calls from confused would-be fairgoers that afternoon, the only dilemmas the next day stemmed from which of the dozens of vendors to get dinner from.
“It all falls into place,” said Mrs. Sylvia in a telephone conversation with the Gazette.
Established in 1971 to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the town of Tisbury, the street fair is now in its 40th year and regularly draws a crowd of thousands.
Signs of the milestone birthday were spotted from one end of Main street to the next, whether in the form of commemorative T-shirts featuring a design by Tisbury School fourth-grader Julia Kane, or the red plastic fire hats (for those who preferred blue, EMS hats were also available) donated by Island fire departments in honor of the occasion.
Red felt lobster-claw hats proved a popular choice of headgear as well; crustacean enthusiasts could find the distinct caps at Soft As A Grape’s booth or offered as part of the Rotary Club’s raffle, where attendees entered to win a $500 gift card to the Net Result — a windfall that translates into roughly 50 pounds of lobster.
Those not in the mood to wait for the results of the raffle headed to the Medeiros family’s lobster roll booth for a quick fix.
In addition to supporting the Rotary Club’s charity efforts, “You get to look as good as this,” said Rotary Club member Bill Little with a laugh, pointing to his own lobster hat.
No two vendors are alike at the street fair, with Mrs. Sylvia and her fellow organizers taking particular care to ensure that there are no duplicate food stands. Offerings of jambalaya, quiche, scallops, barbecue, ice cream and other delicacies meant there was something for every taste.
The cotton candy booth run by Vineyard Haven’s First Baptist Church had long lines throughout the evening.
“It makes a lot of kids happy,” said staffer Cynthia Schilling, noting that the church used to offer fresh fruit cups at the street fair. “Those didn’t sell,” she said.
Even the miniature horses Diva and Rage were able to find snacks in between offering rides to the younger set, munching away at a small patch of grass next to the Mad Martha’s parking lot.
Adjacent to the parking lot, a new addition to the fair, the Vineyard Youth Hockey program’s dunking booth, drew a crowd for the duration of the fair, as players, coaches and referees alike took their turns getting drenched.
Vendors began to pack up their wares at 8 p.m., but Main street remained vibrant and busy as the spirit of the street fair showed little sign of dissipating.
“It’s a beautiful day for it,” said Roger Morris of Oak Bluffs, enjoying scoops of ice cream outside of Bob’s Pizza and Subs with his granddaughters, Ciera Martin and Cydni Morris.
“This is the way it’s supposed to be.”